Festive vegan Christmas dishes
Christmas is traditionally a time for roast turkey, glazed ham, seafood banquets, buttery sauces and cream-filled pavlovas. But research indicates that more Australians are now actively reducing their animal-based food consumption. This means more plant-based feasts will be on the table for a vegan Christmas this year.
“We all know we should be incorporating more plants into our diets,” says Phoebe Conway, practising nutritionist and recipe developer at Pheeb’s Foods. “Or perhaps you have a family member who’s vegan. But the idea of a completely vegan Christmas can be quite daunting for some. Especially those who are new to plant-based cooking.
“It doesn’t have to be hard though. There are plenty of easy vegan Christmas dishes you can make that taste and look incredible. Even your meat-eating guests will enjoy your Christmas lunch. Delicious and satisfying but with no animal products or dairy in sight!”
Keen to try it, but not sure where to start? Below we share some of Conway’s tips and recipes to help you create the perfect vegan Christmas.
Choose your main event
Every Christmas meal needs a standout main course, and a mushroom wellington will do just the trick (you’ll find the recipe below). With earthy mushrooms and delicious pastry, even meat-eaters won’t feel like they’re missing out, especially with a rich vegan gravy to go with it. Another great option is a butternut pumpkin roast, which can look and taste equally spectacular. And if you’re short on time, supermarkets now stock pre-made vegan Christmas roasts, too. Just be careful that they don’t contain too much sodium or other ingredients which aren’t particularly healthy.
Work out the side attractions
You can’t have a vegan Christmas feast without a good old potato bake. And Conway’s plant-based version will certainly hit the spot (see recipe below). A cheesy sauce made using cashews and Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk makes this bake taste just as rich but without the dairy. So everyone in the family can enjoy it. Add fresh vegies like steamed beans or broccoli or a nice salad, and you’re in business.
Mushroom wellington with vegan gravy
For the filling
2 brown onions diced
2 tbsp olive oil
350g diced mushrooms
1 tbsp tamari
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot mustard
½ cup cooked lentils
½ cup chopped kale or spinach, roughly chopped
For the “egg” wash
2 tbsp Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
2 sheets vegan puff pastry (most store-bought puff pastries are vegan, just look for ones made with oil rather than butter)
For the gravy
55g vegan butter
1 onion finely diced
1 garlic clove crushed
¼ cup white flour
½ cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk
1 tsp chopped rosemary or thyme
½ cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with paper.
2. In a frying pan, add the onion, olive oil and garlic. Cook over a low to medium heat, stirring often until the onions soften, around 5-10 minutes.
3. Add in the mushrooms, tamari, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms soften.
4. Add in the lentils and kale towards the end and stir to wilt the greens. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
5. To make “egg” wash, combine almond milk and maple syrup in a small bowl, set aside.
6. Place one sheet of pastry out on the tray lined with paper. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the centre of the pastry. Place the second sheet on top and then fold the sides in together to seal, gently pressing down each side with a fork.
7. Gently prick the top a few times with a knife to allow any steam to escape. Brush the top with your egg wash and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
9. To make the gravy, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened.
10. Place the flour and a quarter cup of the almond milk into a small bowl. Whisk until combined and few lumps remain.
11. Add flour mixture along with remaining ingredients into the pan. Cook until thickened. You can blend the gravy with a stick blender if you want it smooth. Or leave it as is.
12. Serve immediately alongside the mushroom wellington.
Cheesy vegan potato bake
1 cup raw cashews
6-7 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt and pinch of pepper
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 onion thinly sliced
Vegan cheese, grated (optional)
1. Place cashews in a heat-proof bowl, cover with boiling water, set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
3. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender with the almond milk, onion powder, salt, pepper, corn starch, vinegar and mustard and blend until smooth.
4. Place the sliced potatoes into a bowl and pour over a quarter of the sauce mixture, stirring to coat each potato slice.
5. Place potato slices in baking tray, alternating sizes. Add a slice of onion every so often.
6. Once tray is full, pour over remaining sauce to fill tray. If using cheese, add that on top.
7. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until browned and the potatoes are soft.
8. Sprinkle some fresh rosemary or chives on top and serve immediately.
For more recipes and inspiration for creating a vegan Christmas feast, head to califiafarms.com.au